Singapore is one of the most popular city stop-overs that we include as part of our Far East multi centre holidays. It also combines really well with an Australian multi centre trip. However, with so much to see and do, you need to make sure you plan your time well, so that when you touch down in the ‘Little Red Dot’ – a nickname affectionately used by the locals – you get to cover all these essential must do’s.


1. Gardens by the Bay

This incredible ‘City in a Garden’ has several different zones for you to explore. The Cloud Forest Garden is veiled in mist and boasts mountain views. There’s a 22m-high walkway that offers fantastic views over all the gardens and beyond, over the Marina Bay area. Its main attractions though, are its large metal tree structures that look like something from a science fiction film and dominate the area.


2. Dine at the top of Marina Bay Sands

For an extravagant lunch head to Spago on the 57th Floor of the Marina Bay Sands. Run by celebrity chef, Wolfgang Puck, the restaurant has an al fresco terrace where you can enjoy the spectacular view over the hotel’s famous infinity pool and the cityscape beyond.


3. Merlion Park

The Merlion is the city’s most iconic landmark, and is a statue part lion and part fish. The fish symbolises Singapore’s origins as a fishing village, whilst the head represents the city’s original name Singapura – which means lion city.


4. Singapore Sling at Raffles

How can you visit Singapore and not visit the island’s most famous hotel to enjoy their signature Singapore Sling?


5. The Southern Ridges

If you enjoy walking, then this unique experience allows you to get up close to nature, whilst taking in some of the best panoramic views of the city, the harbour and Southern Islands. This 10km stretch of treetop canopy trails, futuristic bridges and tranquil pathways link up some of Singapore’s most popular parks and gardens. Travel from Mount Faber Park through Telok Blangah Hill Park, HortPark and Kent Ridge Park, all the way to Labrador Nature Reserve.


6. East Coast Road

This bustling neighbourhood is famous for its colourful shops that house some of the city’s best restaurants. For us though, it’s more about just wandering through this bustling residential district to soak up Singapore’s history and heritage.


7. National Gallery Singapore

Singapore’s most popular gallery and home to Southeast Asia’s largest collection of modern art, which is spread across the City Hall and the country’s former Supreme Court.

8. Night Safari

A unique experience to wander through the world’s first nocturnal wildlife park. Once dusk has fallen, you’ll be able to get up close to its 900 magical creatures and witness their mysterious habitats. The park is home to over 100 species, many of which are endangered, so this is also a great opportunity to learn about what the park is doing for these threatened species and the conservation projects it’s involved in.


9. Singapore Botanic Gardens

Dating back to 1859, this is one of Singapore’s most popular attractions and is the most visited botanic garden in the world. If you’re interested in horticulture, it is home to an array of plants, however it is also a favourite spot for jogging, walking and relaxing.


10. Chinatown & Thian Hock Keng

While the population of the island is largely Chinese, it is Chinatown that retains most of the cultural charm and it is home to some of the island’s finest temples. Thian Hock Keng Temple, Temple of Heavenly Happiness, is one of the city’s oldest and most important. When it was completed in 1842 it was a beachfront temple and was the first stop for Chinese immigrants. The Sri Mariamman Temple is the oldest Hindu temple in Singapore. As you walk into the temple, pay special attention to the intricately carved gopuram. These gave the adjacent Pagoda Street its name and the use of colour somehow manages to stimulate all of your senses. You also shouldn’t miss The Buddha Tooth Relic Temple on South Bridge Road that gets its name from Buddha Shakyamuni’s one tooth that can be found on the fourth floor.


11. Clarke Quay

From what was the centre of trade in the 1800’s, its old warehouses have now been restored and the area is now the hub for Singapore’s dining and night-time entertainment. This large open air pedestrian area is filled with bars, restaurants, and nightclubs, with many offering waterfront tables.


12. Maxwell Food Centre

To make the most of mouth-watering local cuisine visiting a Hawker Centre is a must. Maxwell Food Centre is a firm favourite and provides you the opportunity to sample many of the island’s favourite dishes.


13. Sentosa Island

Take the cable car from Mount Faber on the mainland to the man-made Sentosa Island for fantastic views of the city. Sentosa is like a giant playground with great beaches and loads of activities; there’s Mega Adventure for zip lining, wall climbing and bungee jumping, The Luge, with a wheeled luge track, as well as Sentosa’s Universal Studios. On the beach head for the Tangoing Beach Club for an excellent laid-back brunch venue overlooking the South China Sea.


14. Shopping on Orchard Road

When in Orchard Road, you’ll start to feel what modern-day Singapore is like, which will come as a stark contrast to Chinatown. Spend some time in the shopping area to truly get the vibe and enjoy some of the region’s best shopping malls.


15. Kampong Glam

This is a traditional district selling carpets, textiles, hip local clothes and accessories. There are also plenty of eateries in the area, in addition to the Malay Heritage Centre and Masjid Sultan. Masjid Sultan is one of the most important mosques in Singapore and is steeped in the history of the area. When Singapore was ceded to the British in 1819, the area around Kampong Glam was allocated for the Malays and other Muslims. Sultan Hussain Shah of Jahore was given jurisdiction over the Little Red Dot, alongside the island’s chief Temenggong Abdul Rahman, and built a palace and the mosque befitting his status.


Exploring more than the city…

If you have time and love temples, history and relaxation, you need to take a trip to Kusu Island, which means ‘Turtle Island’ in Chinese. It’s one of Singapore’s southern islands and it will be a nice relief from the hustle and bustle of main Singapore. Sitting atop the hillock are three holy shrines of Malay saints, known as kramats. These were erected to commemorate Syed Abdul Rahman, who was a pious man, and his mother and sister. Rahman was alive in the 19th century and people pray at the kramats (though not to them) for wealth, health, harmony and a good marriage. Those struggling to conceive will also take the trip in the hope if falling pregnant. It’s 152 steps to the kramats so be sure you’re physically able before embarking on the journey. However, this isn’t all there is to see on Kusu Island: Da Bo Gong is a Chinese temple built in 1923 by a wealthy businessman and is worth a look. There are also lagoons, beaches and a tortoise sanctuary on the island.

Dave Felton Senior Travel Consultant

Dave has worked at eShores since 2010, but has spent most of his career working in the travel industry. He is one of the most senior members of the team, who's happy to help anyone and what Dave doesn't know, isn't worth knowing. He loves to travel, taking in the sights, experiencing the culture, and enjoying a cold pint of beer, whilst keeping his eye on the Football results!